He is officially the hottest man in Ireland, after winning the Mr Ireland title this year, but Karl Bowe has revealed he used to be bullied over his weight.
Karl, 25, told Goss.ie he had a tough time in school, and now he wants to help young people who are going through the same thing.
“When I was younger I was bullied mainly because of my weight,” he explained.
“It wasn’t physical as such. It was more verbal. I always felt I would get to a stage of my life and be very lonely.”
Bullied: Karl was attached over his weight
“I felt like I didn’t really have anyone to talk to because I was such a very sensitive child anyway I would get upset over the smallest things,” he said.
“The thing about it is I am the current Mr Ireland so for me my whole concept is to really get the message out there.
“Nowadays bullying is getting a lot worse but I would love to be able do something about that because unfortunately we’ve got people committing suicide because of this.”
Karl said he was bullied from the age of 9-15, but after being crowned Mr Ireland who knows things can get better.
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“I think anything is possible, the fact that I was bullied several years ago and then all of a sudden become Mr Ireland so for me personally I feel it is a great achievement.
“I just want to be able spread the message out there that it’s not all doom and gloom out there,” he told Goss.ie.
“When people would bully me over my weight I would be very hurt from it and I kind of felt that I didn’t really have anyone to turn to at one stage.
“It kind of got to a stage where it was on a daily basis and I just couldn’t take it anymore,” he admitted.
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“For me personally I was very lucky because I had the love of my family and I had great friends of who I could turn to and I could talk to people.”
“There is light at the end of the tunnel.”
Despite his charming personality and happy attitude, Karl admitted things were so tough in school he was scared to go.
“There were people that would turn against me for no particular reason at all and I was always a very fun loving child so it actually got to a stage where I would be scared to go to school.”
Hard time: Karl was bullied over his weight in school
“I knew what the repercussions were and people were going to be really hurtful towards me for no apparent reason,” he said.
“I always felt very low in myself.”
After being the biggest kid in his class for years Karl decided to do something about his weight.
“I just think I enjoyed my sweet stuff way too much. There were times even in school when we were doing PE I was always the one picked last for football.”
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“So I just realised one day thankfully that I can’t be living like this so I got into more activities,” he said.
“I started running which helped an awful lot. I cut down with what I was eating a bit more.”
Since becoming the hottest man in Ireland Karl said he has bumped into his school bullies, and admitted he is in a better place.
“The ironic thing about it is I would always believe ‘what goes around comes around’
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“And those guys now who would have made fun of me are either over weight or maybe not in a necessarily a good place.”
“For me I am not one to hold any grudges or that I just try and get on with life but at the same time I am kind of secretly rubbing my hand and saying ‘you know what up yours’ really.”